Military Embedded Systems

"We are quite busy" with tense situations across the globe: SecNav


December 12, 2023

Dan Taylor

Technology Editor

Military Embedded Systems

MES staff photo.

60th AOC INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM & CONVENTION, NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. The U.S. Navy is "quite busy" juggling three major areas of interest with China, Russia, and the Middle East, and domination of the electromagnetic spectrum will be key to the Navy having an advantage in these areas in the future, Navy Secretary Carlos Del Toro said Tuesday during his keynote address at the Annual AOC [Association of Old Crows] International Symposium & Convention, underway in National Harbor, Maryland.

Del Toro said the Navy has deployed two carriers to the Pacific, one to the Red Sea, and one to the Mediterranean.

"Our national security strategy and national defense strategy put forth by President Biden and Secretary of Defense Austin outlined the challenges that we face as a nation, as a military, alongside our international allies and partners – and that list is certainly not a short list," he said. "Let's just say we are quite busy. The world around us is changing at a rapid pace with an era of uncertainty as to what the future holds."

He referenced Russia's "unprovoked invasion" of Ukraine as one front – a conflict that has underscored the growing importance of uncrewed systems as well as electronic warfare systems.

"This conflict has pushed us to a new era for utilizing large quantities of unmanned aerial systems that are capable of delivering kinetic effects against an opposing force response," he said. "We have seen a race to develop and field electronic warfare systems that are capable of defending against the threat from the sky and from space. What's more, early in Russia's invasion, we saw them leverage their electronic warfare capabilities.”

Del Toro also referenced Israel's ongoing bombing and invasion of Gaza, and the importance the U.S. places on owning the electromagnetic spectrum in order to allow them to dominate the region, pointing to missiles launched from Yemen and other locations in the Middle East, as well as threats to commercial ships.

He referred to China as an ongoing "pacing challenge," warning that China is trying to expand its own capabilities in the same areas as the U.S.: "The People's Liberation Army [editor’s note: the armed wing of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the principal military force of the People's Republic of China (PRC)] is also pursuing strategy to develop, test, and field integrated space, counter-space, cyber, electronic, and information-warfare capabilities, posing potential challenges as we operate across the spectrum," he said. "The PRC electronic warfare strategy emphasizes the suppression, degradation, and interception of enemy electronic equipment across the entire continuum of conflict."

As a result of all of these situations, the U.S. Navy is placing renewed emphasis on electronic warfare, Del Toro asserted.

"Given the focus and the emphasis that nations around the globe are putting on developing capabilities and technologies to enable their militaries to successfully maneuver across the EM spectrum, it is important that we – in concert with our allies and partners – remain committed to prioritizing our warfighters' freedom of action and ability to achieve spectrum superiority. The Department of the Navy will utilize the electromagnetic spectrum across all domains for a number of operations."

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